Niles theft case grows

NILES – A 62-year-old former employee in the Niles City Treasurer’s Office was named in a superceding indictment Tuesday that doubles the amount of money believed stolen on the job.

The original indictment against Phyllis Wilson accused her of stealing $71,000 during an 18-month embezzlement scheme dating back to 2012.

The indictment made public Tuesday indicates that $142,272 was believed stolen, dating back to January 2009. Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker said the new evidence was incorporated in recent audits done by the state in Niles.

Wilson, of Lincoln Avenue, remains free on $10,000 bond pending a pretrial in the case Sept. 9 before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.

She continues to face the same third-degree felony charge of theft in office, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 36 months in prison.

Wilson was a treasury clerk in the office until she retired last summer.

Becker said a May that a routine audit by the Ohio Auditor’s Office turned up the first discrepancy in the office of Niles Treasurer Robert Swauger. Becker said cash deposits were discovered missing.

Swauger even said at the time that an investigation into the department was ongoing.

The arrest reportedly resulted in recent checks and balances incorporated into the city auditor’s and treasurer’s offices. Tabulations will now be tallied on a daily rather than a monthly basis, city officials said.

A source who wished to remain anonymous noted that the routine audit was performed in cooperation with the performance audit being conducted by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office.

In a Tribune Chronicle story from September 2013, city officials said they hoped the performance audit would provide a game plan for fixing some of the city’s recent financial issues.